Wednesday, August 3, 2016
The old homestead
Back in the late 80's I sold my little house in town. Over the years I did a lot of work to the place: wiring, insulation, turned an attached garage into a bedroom and a bathroom. It was in pretty good shape when I finally let it go.
The local housing market had collapsed, but nobody realized it yet. That's the sort of thing that gets noticed about six months after it happens. The house had already been on the market for a while. I reduced my price a bit to make the sale. I may have been the last person to make money on the place.
Recently I discovered the house had been sold at auction. People from out of state bought it to use as a vacation get away. That's something that's happening around here more often. Regular houses in normal neighborhoods are being purchased by people from away. They store their ATVs and snowmobiles here so they don't have to haul them around, plus they have a place to stay. The houses are in town, but you can drive your ATV on the streets so it doesn't matter.
After the local mill closed the economy took a steep downturn. In town property, while not at Detroit levels, is going for fairly low prices. Rural property with acreage or water frontage is still commanding higher prices, but even that isn't at the levels it once was.
People with normal middle class jobs can pick up second fixer up houses within their budget. My cousin bought the place next door because he didn't want bums to move in. He was going to tear it down, but decided to fix it up so he could install a 9 foot pool table. His “man cave” is a complete second house.
At least the houses aren't abandoned. That's when the druggies move in and places burn down. Not good at all. The town been pretty good about tearing down the worse places, so that's helped stabilize the local market.
I must admit that it was tempting to put a bid on the old homestead when it came up for auction. It was a good neighborhood to raise kids. My lovely wife and I have a lot of good memories. In the end, it was better to keep the memories and let the house go. At least someone is taking care of it now so it's not going to be torn down.